Turkish, Hungarian experts discuss discovery of Süleyman's tomb

DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
ISTANBUL
Published 30.05.2017 22:53
Updated 30.05.2017 22:54

In a symposium in the capital Ankara Tuesday, Turkish and Hungarian researchers explained their work to locate the tomb of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the notable Ottoman sultan who died in his bid to capture Hungary's Szigetvar.

"It is almost 100 percent now that it is the tomb of Süleyman the Lawgiver (the Turkish honorific for the sultan)," says Professor Ali Uzay Peker, who heads the team of Turkish researchers working in Hungary to locate the tomb.

Though the discovery of the burial site of the 16th-century ruler was announced last year, experts are still examining the site for more findings and further confirmation.

This is why Peker is cautious, though he gave elaborate details on what they found inside.

"We have some small findings such as Ottoman coins, daggers, ceramic pieces, pieces of a mantle," he told the İhlas News Agency.

Peker is part of a team assembled and funded by the Szigetvar municipality in Hungary and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

In the past two years, two teams managed to find the place where the innards of Suleiman were buried. The sultan's body was returned to the Ottoman capital by soldiers who accompanied him before his death in 1566.

"We discovered important findings in the site located on a mound near Szigetvar. It is composed of a mosque, a complex surrounded by wooden barriers. This was the place mentioned by (17th-century traveler-writer) Evliya Çelebi in his books. He even cites a town built around the burial site which we could not yet locate; but this is only the second stage in our excavation work. We will resume the work this summer," he said.

Born in 1494, Suleiman reigned from 1520 to 1566, the longest of any sultan. He greatly expanded the Ottoman Empire, annexing large swathes of the Balkans, the Middle East and northern Africa.

Falling ill before his final battle, Suleiman was found dead in his imperial camp, located an hour's walk east of the castle according to contemporary accounts.

His body was recovered and laid to rest in Istanbul, while the internal organs and heart, which had been removed, were buried at the site of his death, later being covered by a tomb that was built on top.

Around the tomb the town of Turbek grew, the only settlement that the Ottomans built from scratch during their reign in Hungary.

At the end of the 17th century, however, both the town and the tomb were wiped off the map by the Habsburgs.

Until that is, 2012, when Hungarian Professor Norbert Pap, who leads the Hungarian team of researchers, secured funding from the Turkish government to use technology to try to find them.

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